I'm big on collaboration lately and it's not just that I have to be these days or I'd get nothing done.
Though granted I want to be productive and collaborating, whether it's through Startup Weekend, Second Life or the Frozen Pea Fund, provides a basic framework flexible enough, fluid enough, to work with whatever challenges I or others bring to the table.
Which brings me to Rod Beckstrom who started Twiki.net which provides collaboration software for businesses. Rod has just been tagged to run the National Cyber Security Center reporting directly to Homeland Security's Michael Chertoff.
Co-author of "The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations," he is probably best known as a tech entrepreneur. So what's he doing in - or for - Washington?
Aha - we're back to fluidity as in his book he recognizes the value of collaboration and having less rather than more centralization. Using the starfish and the spider as examples he believes that decentralized companies, organisms, or armies are
- creative and
In team or user driven structure like wikis and even twitter where the users took the idea and adapted it to where WE wanted it to go - decisions are made much like a starfish operates. If some parts of the structure are cut off or damaged the entity as a whole not only survives but also regenerates.
Organisms (companies, groups etc) which operate more like a spider, in a centralized way, he argues would be squished (my word) by the same thing.
"Whether we're looking at a Fortune 500 company, an army, or a community, . . . The absence of structure, leadership, and formal organization, once considered a weakness, has become a major asset. Seemingly chaotic groups have challenged and defeated established institutions. The rules of the game have changed."
I think he's advising Chertoff that the US needs to be more like Web 2.0.
More like twitter, where if we don't like how we're getting updates delivered we come up with a new way of feeding it to ourselves or others.
More like our blogs. You send what you like to friendfeed or facebook or stumble, sharing the thoughts or resources without ME sending out a press release and without a thousand people reading every blog post.
And we do this network building, cooperative information sharing in ways that works for us and that have redundancies built in.
You the community take charge, we connect with each other on different networks via those little buttons on the side of the blog. If one folds the others remain because the format is that of the starfish.
And when it comes to security, community, connecting - cyber or physical - the starfish rules.